The Kremlin announced Monday that the state-run media outlet, RIA Novosti, will be dissolved and acquired by the new media group, Rossiya Segodnya, reports RIA Novosti.
RIA Novosti, the very Russian media organization scheduled to be liquidated, wrote that this change comes “amid a significant reorganization of state-owned media assets.”
This latest series of shifts in Russia’s news industry, says RIA Novosti, appears “to point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector.”
The Kremlin’s usurping of RIA Novosti also comes at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings are the lowest they have been since 2000.
However, the Putin administration claims it scrapped the news conglomerate in an effort to save money and make state media more effective.
Sergei Ivanov, the head of the presidential administration, told reporters, “Russia has its own independent politics and strongly defends its national interests. It’s difficult to explain this to the world but we can do this, and we must do this.”
The Kremlin wrote in a decree that “The main focus of the International News Agency Russia Today [Rossiya Segodnya] is to inform abroad about the State Policy of the Russian Federation and public life in the Russian Federation.”
RIA Novosti, originally the Soviet Information Bureau, was created to keep civilians informed during World War II. It was formally set up in 1941, just two days after the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union.
Now, 72 years later, the veteran news outlet has journalists in 45 different countries reporting in 14 languages.
The Kremlin also announced on Monday that it will appoint Dmitry Kiselvov, a well-known Russian broadcast journalist who is infamous for his anti-opposition and anti-gay views, to manage Rossiya Segodnya.
Although “Rossiya Segodnuya” translates to “Russia Today,” it is separate from the Kremlin-backed English-language news outlet, Russia Today.
RIA Novosti was the largest news outlet in Russia and was scheduled to be one of the official sponsors of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi this upcoming February.
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